Message from the CEO 50

District cooling is booming in Sweden. The Ukraine crisis is affecting the energy industry in many ways. Summer is here and the pandemic has at least temporarily died down.

In the early 1990s, FVB took the district cooling idea from the U.S. and introduced it in Sweden. Back then, few people thought that district cooling would have as big an impact in Sweden as it turns out to have had. Right now, district cooling also seems to be experiencing something of a boom in Sweden. Several factors contribute to the increased interest. FVB is currently involved in a number of district cooling projects. All of the projects have different basic conditions and require unique system solutions, but the driving forces the projects have in common are: increased operational reliability, environmental requirements, low carbon footprints, reduced electricity consumption (from a system perspective), high energy efficiency, and solid profitability. The district cooling project in Varberg is a good example of a forward-looking investment where they are really trying to find a complete, well-designed solution.

In Sweden, district cooling is mainly used as comfort cooling for buildings in healthcare, offices, stores, and commercial properties. It may be only a matter of time before district cooling will be seriously considered for residential housing.

FVB’s operations in Canada is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Over 30 years, our Canadian colleagues have built up an impressive set of skills in the district energy sector. One of the biggest projects FVB has taken on in Canada is the “modernization project” in Ottawa, which is presented in this newsletter. Ottawa has several old energy systems. These needed to be renovated, renewed, and made more efficient. The energy systems (both heating and cooling) have been upgraded from the ground up. The old steam systems have been converted and integrated into a modern “European low-temperature hot water system.” The conversion has required extensive redesign and renovation in the properties in question. The production is also being renewed in a radical way. They are replacing a strategy based on natural gas with an electricity-based production model with heat pumps and electric boilers. Not only is the district heating system being modernized and future-proofed for low carbon dioxide emissions, the district cooling system is as well. This is an impressive project in every way. It will be exciting to see if the energy systems can be expanded to supply larger areas in the future, there are certainly good opportunities for it.

FVB has extensive experience in investigating and designing district heating pipes, and we are currently working on a project where residual heat from Gävle will heat up Sandviken. Connecting district heating networks and thus enabling more residual heat to be utilized is very cost-effective and obviously also efficient from a resource and environmental perspective. In this case, the connection will lead to benefits for both Sandviken and Gävle, as heat from the BillerudKorsnäs factory and heat from Gävle’s CHP plant can be used in an optimal way to benefit both cities. As with so many other complex district heating projects, there are plenty of challenges to deal with. Everyone involved has to really dig deep and fight to reach the project’s finishing line. FVB looks forward to contributing to this project being a success for both our clients and the district heating customers.

The trend of energy cooperation continues, for example by connecting different cities’ heating systems and utilizing residual heat from industrial facilities.  FVB is ready to help your customers with these types of collaborative projects.

Speaking of utilizing residual heat from industry in smart way, in this FVB Newsletter you can read about a project where the town of Frövi will heat greenhouses for growing tomatoes and shrimp with residual heat. At a time when the need to become more self-sufficient nationally is increasing, and many upcoming industrial processes will generate large amounts of low-grade residual energy, maybe we will get to see more exciting investments of this kind.

FVB’s consultants sometimes face unusual and particularly demanding challenges. For example, overhauling the heating of the old Kättilstad church in Östergötland. This required a solution-oriented approach, a great feel for the space, and engineering skills beyond the ordinary. What could be more fitting for a 300-year-old church than a sustainable energy solution?

The energy industry, like many other industries, is affected by the negative consequences of the war in Ukraine. The pandemic caused far-reaching global supply chain disruptions. In addition, the Ukraine crisis has led to serious shortages in various areas. In our industry, we notice that there are shortages of materials and components that have a major negative impact on certain projects. The shortage situation creates long delivery times and skyrocketing prices. Preparedness and flexible solutions are required to meet these challenges. Add to this the impact of the war on Europe’s energy markets. As many people are shunning Putin’s fossil fuels, energy prices are affected accordingly. For example, skyrocketing electricity prices are becoming more common, and we will certainly see more of this in the autumn/winter. The profitability calculations of many energy projects may have to be recalculated because of these turbulent changes in external conditions, but the basic development needs in the industry remain. 

We have finally nailed down a date for FVB’s updated and renewed district heating training, hosted by Sven Werner. The training will commence in the fall and first out is “District heating tomorrow,” which is aimed at slightly more experienced district heating stakeholders. A little later in 2022, “District heating today” will be launched. As we like to say: Simply first-class district heating trainings.

Summer is now here. The pandemic is almost forgotten. We are now worried about the ongoing Ukraine crisis and all the negative effects that come with it. FVB wants to wish all our customers a warm, happy, and reasonably safe summer.

Leif Breitholtz

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